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## Math Is Not Hard!

As a math tutor for 15 years, I have tutored hundreds of students at all levels. I found that most students were not comfortable with math. More than 80% of them said, “math is very hard.” Why do most students find mathematics a difficult subject and try to avoid it?

The answer to the above question is hidden in a simple example. I always give the example of stairs to my students, and give the same example in this article. I compare the rungs of a ladder to math concepts. As it is very difficult to reach the highest floors of a building without stairs (or elevators these days), similarly learning higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts is very difficult.

People have to start from the floor, then step one, step two, step three and so on to reach the destination floor. In exactly the same way that students have to start from kindergarten, then first, second and third grade and so on to reach their math destination. Also, if some of the steps are broken in the staircase, it is still difficult to reach the desired floor using these steps. Similarly, if you miss some of the basic elementary concepts, math is still difficult for you.

Now kindergarten, first and second are like the first couple of steps on the stairs. You can learn this level of math easily as you can jump enough to easily climb the second or third rung of the stairs. Just as it is very difficult to reach the sixth or seventh rung of a ladder by jumping off the floor, the exact same way to learn fifth or higher grade math is very difficult (or impossible) without good knowledge from kindergarten through third degree or fourth grade math.

Now, imagine that a person is jumping on the ground to reach the third floor of a building. Can this person make it? Never, unless it’s Spiderman. For this person, reaching the third floor by jumping is either impossible or very hard and finally he gave up saying that it was very difficult to reach the third floor.

But another person used the stairs to get to the same floor. This person found it very easy and got there with little effort. Compare this person to a student who knows all the basics learned in elementary school. Learning sixth or seventh grade math for this student will be easy. But there’s another sixth grader and he doesn’t know lower grade math concepts like multiplication tables, factors, or the number system. This student is in the same situation as the person, who is jumping to reach the third floor from the ground floor.

From the example it is very clear that mathematics in each course has the same importance. So you need to focus on math in all grades in all core concepts. Ask your teachers lots of questions. Keep asking until you are clear about the concepts or topics you are working on.

Each grade acts as a rung on the entire ladder of access to the mathematics building. Doing poorly in math at any grade level is like missing a few rungs on the entire ladder. Because broken steps make the entire scale risky or scary to use in the future, incomplete math skills in the lower grades make math very difficult in high school.

So what does it take to be smart in math? My answer is; stay focused on mathematics at each and every level of their studies. Take part in practical classroom math sessions. Ask your teacher lots of questions until you are clear on any concept. Maths is a subject of solving problems on paper by hand rather than just reading them. As in the case of Social Sciences doing more reading makes you smart, in mathematics practicing a lot of problems and solving them by hand makes you smart.

For practicing math, math workbooks are the good source. You learn a concept in a workbook, then in the same workbook there are more problems on the same concept for practice. Another great way to practice math concepts is to use math worksheets, and you can print math worksheets for free from the web.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You can choose the jumping method to reach your math destination or you can use the correct and proven path to reach your math destination.

The correct and proven path to the mathematical destination has the following steps:

* Start learning math as soon as you start kindergarten

* Focus on your math lessons and listen to your teacher

* Ask your teacher lots of questions until you understand the concept, you are learning

* Practice, practice and practice. You can use math worksheets or math notebooks for this.

**If you take the tried and true path, one day you might say, “Math isn’t hard.”**

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